Balbirnie stars as Ireland win thriller against ACT Comets
October 9th 2014 | International
Andrew Balbirnie top scored with 86 as Ireland beat ACT Comets by one wicket in a thrilling encounter at Manuka Oval, as they successfully chased an imposing home side total of 305/5.
The Middlesex man struck nine boundaries in his 90 ball stay, sharing a crucial 6th wicket stand of 81 in just ten overs with the in-form John Mooney, who made 46.
The dismissal of Balbirnie, run out with 21 still needed, saw a late Irish wobble as Alex Cusack (10) and Andrew McBrine (2) both went cheaply.
However Stuart Poynter’s unbeaten 23 coupled with the winning boundary from number 11 Graeme McCarter (4*) ensured victory with ten balls remaining.
The Irish run chase had been given a solid platform thanks to an opening stand of 75 between skipper William Porterfield (42) and Niall O’Brien (36).
A consistent batting display on an excellent track saw 8 of the Irish top 9 reach double figures, with only Stuart Thompson (1) missing out.
Earlier, Ireland had opted to field after winning the toss, and that decision looked fully vindicated as Graeme McCarter (1-51) removed Daniel Hughes in the first over.
John Mooney (1-71) struck shortly afterwards, but from then on the batsmen were firmly on top.
Matthew Condon top scored with 126 from 128 deliveries (16 fours, 1 six), sharing a fourth wicket stand of 149 with Andrew Harriott (62).
There were also entertaining cameos from Pat Pisel (33), Michael Spaseski (30*), and Vele Dukoski (26*) as Comets finished on 305 for 5.
Alex Cusack (1-53) made a welcome return to bowling after missing most of the domestic season through injury, completing his ten over spell while picking up the wicket of Harriott.
Ireland now depart for New Zealand where they will play a further four matches, taking on Northern Districts and a New Zealand XI in Hamilton, before the tour concludes with games against Canterbury and Otago in Christchurch.
At Manuka Oval, Canberra - Final Scorecard
ACT COMETS 305/5 (50 overs, M Condon 126, A Harriott 62, P Pisel 33, M Spaseski 30*, V Dukoski 26*)
IRELAND XI 306/9 (48.2 overs, A Balbirnie 86, J Mooney 46, W Porterfield 42, N O’Brien 36, K O’Brien 25, S Poynter 23*, S Devoy 4-57, J Connolly 2-66)
Ireland won by one wicket